Let’s get this out of the way. The Yankees did not place a lot of emphasis on winning this game today. Joe Girardi clearly stated he wanted to rest his players with the schedule ahead and used the scrubbiest of scrubs out of the bullpen in relief. Down 3-0 with 2 outs in the 8th, team laughing stock Ramiro Pena was up with a man on first. Instead of pinch hitting for him with a regular off the bench, Girardi left him up there and he promptly struck out. From the very beginning it was a clear, rest the regulars, type of game.
Which is totally OK. With 14 games coming up in the next 13 days and a little cushion in the AL East lead, it totally made sense. It was a day game, against the Blue Jays followed by another day game tomorrow at home against the Twins. Resting your regulars makes sense when you’re about to play 7 against the surging Rays and 3 against the Red Sox. Both of those teams will be desperate for wins with the wild card race tightening. Would it have been nice to put another game between the Red Sox and Yankees? Yes, of course. Could that potentially come back to bite them in the ass? Sure, it’s possible. Wouldn’t you prefer the Yankees to have everyone rested and ready for this tough closing stretch rather than trot out the A lineup for one more game against the 76-75 Blue Jays? There is a huge difference between not trying and resting your players down the stretch. This game clearly fits into the latter category.
All that being said, this game was still very close. The Yankees wound up losing 3-0 to Brandon Morrow who has pitched very well against the Yankees this season (entering today, 12.2 IP, 14 Ks, 2.25 ERA). He was fantastic today again, going 8 innings with 1 walk, 0 runs, 8 strikeouts and only 4 hits allowed. On the other side of the ledger, Freddy Garcia was less than stellar today. His final line was 4.2 innings, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. As Jack Curry has noted, Garcia in his last 12.1 innings has allowed 15 earned runs and 6 homers, which is not exactly inspiring entering the post season. AJ Burnett has actually been leaps and bounds better than Garcia this month.
Aside from the starting pitching, this game was pretty boring. Adam Lind accounted for 2 of the Blue Jays runs with solo shots in the 2nd and 4th inning. The Yankees only had 2 runners in scoring position all game, obviously neither of which wound up scoring. Eduardo Nunez accounted for 3 of the Yankees 5 hits and some base running laughs along the way. Raul Valdez came on and for once, we experienced a lefty actually getting lefty hitters out. It was all very interesting. He should continue to get some looks against lefties as Boone Logan has really been in a funk lately. I think I fell asleep and spilt coffee down my pants somewhere between the top of the 5th and bottom of the 7th. I’m not really sure.
I can understand that some of you may have been frustrated with this game. It’s frustrating to watch a close game with your best players on the bench. That makes sense. I just wanted to impart my opinion about the need to remain focused on the larger picture. Tomorrow, the Yankees face the Twins in a makeup game at 1pm, with AJ Burnett on the mound. Without Mauer or Morneau in the lineup, the Twins are even more compromised than usual. See you for the final home stand of the year tomorrow.
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